| defunct (2014)|
Bath, United Kingdom
| Michael Kuhn|
| AudioGO Ltd, BBC Worldwide|
AudioGO, BBC Audio, BBC Radio Collection
£25.9m p.a. (as of 2010)
AudioGO (formerly BBC Audiobooks) was a publisher of audiobooks and a range of spoken word and large-print titles. It was majority owned by AudioGO Ltd, and minority owned by BBC Worldwide. It was formed in 2010, when AudioGO purchased a majority share in BBC Audiobooks, and traded until it went into administration in 2013.
AudioGO published unabridged audio novels, and (from the holdings of its minority shareholder, BBC Worldwide) the BBC Radio Collection which incorporated dramatisations and non-fiction output derived from BBC Radio programmes. Novels were published under the imprint AudioGO, and BBC-sourced content under the BBC Audio imprint, the latter making up about 20% of new titles as of 2010.
AudioGO had about 8,500 titles in its catalogue at the time it went into administration in 2013.
Thereupon AudioGO's catalogue of non-BBC titles was sold to Audible.com. The BBC titles, formerly known as the BBC Radio Collection, and considered by industry experts to be the most valuable asset, were sold to Random House Audio. That part of AudioGO's catalogue which derived from the BBC included popular radio dramatisations such as Doctor Who, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as well as radio comedy including I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue and Just a Minute.
In July 2010, BBC Worldwide sold an 85% stake in BBC Audiobooks to AudioGO Ltd, a company set up by former Polygram senior executive Michael Kuhn and six partners, for a reported £10m to £15m.
The fact that the BBC, with their substantial resources, had been unable to make a success of the business and had therefore (in effect) washed their hands of it, indicated that AudioGO were always going to find trading conditions difficult, in a market which was transitioning away from traditional CD sales, becoming dominated by online download and filesharing.
In October 2013 AudioGO Ltd announced that it was suspending operations, due to "significant financial challenges", and was seeking fresh investment or a sale of the business. The US arm, Blackstone Audio which had been acquired in January 2013, was sold back to its founders, the Black family, at the same time.
At the end of October 2013, AudioGO Ltd filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators as it was unable to find a buyer or investor. Accountancy firm BDO were appointed as administrator.
In November 2013 it was announced that 57 employees had been made redundant, and that the licensing rights to 5,000 non-BBC titles would be transferred to Amazon.com-owned Audible pending approval from affected authors and publishers. In December 2013, Random House Audio reached an agreement with BBC Worldwide to take over the rights to the 3,500 BBC titles, saying that it would take "sole responsibility for sales, stock management and distribution of BBC-branded physical CDs in the UK and the rest of the world excluding North America, Australia and New Zealand," and "take global responsibility for download sales with leading digital retailers, including Audible".
The AudioGo website reported it would close on 1 February 2014, however trading ceased on the website months before then.